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APHA Scientific Session and Event Listing

Drugs, sex, and status: Does knowing HIV serostatus change risk behavior?

Siobhan K. Young, MPH1, Rhonda Karg, PhD2, Winnie Luseno, MA2, and Wendee M. Wechsberg, PhD2. (1) Substance Absuse Treatment Evaluations and Interventions, Research Triangle Institute, 3040 Cornwallis Road, P.O. Box 12194, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, 919-622-1604, syoung@rti.org, (2) Substance Abuse Treatment Evaluations and Interventions, RTI International, 3040 Cornwallis Rd, P.O. Box 12194, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-2194

Objectives: HIV is a tremendous problem in South Africa, particularly among sex workers. Although the relationship between HIV risk and substance use is well established in the literature, little is known about sexual behavior and substance abuse post-HIV diagnosis.

Methods: To date, 305 women from the Gauteng region have participated in a randomized field study of a woman-focused intervention for reducing HIV risk and substance use.

Results: Of the women who had HIV testing before entering the study (n = 134), 85% (n=115) received their results from their last test. Nearly one-quarter of the women (n=31) had been told they were HIV positive. This group was more likely than their HIV negative counterparts to have initiated alcohol use (p<.05), sexual intercourse (p<.01), and sex work (p<.01) before age 17. Compared to HIV-negative group, the HIV-positive group was more likely to trade sex for drugs with casual partners (p < .01) and to trade sex for basic needs (e.g., food, shelter) with main partners (p < .05). HIV-positive participants were also more likely to use marijuana (p < .05) and cocaine (p < .05) before sex with clients than HIV-negative participants. Despite knowledge that they were placing their partners at high risk, the HIV-positive group did not use condoms more often than HIV-negative group.

Conclusions: These findings underscore the critical need for interventions that teach women with HIV and at high-risk for HIV how to protect themselves, their partners, and their clients.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: HIV Risk Behavior, Substance Abuse

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Not Answered

Global Issues in HIV/AIDS

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA